Summary: The church at Jerusalem is driven into the world as result of persecution and carries the Gospel everywhere.
SERIES: Adventures in Acts 008
TITLE: The Church Driven into the World
TEXT: Acts 8:1-25
INTRO: After His resurrection, Jesus had told His Disciples, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Act 1:8 ESV). Yet, they had tarried in Jerusalem until severe persecution came.
I. SAUL PERSECUTED THE CHURCH (vs.1-3)
A. Saul, a Pharisee, Saw the Believers as Enemies
1. He was consenting when Stephen was stoned to death
2. Now, he took swat teams into believers homes &
dragged them off to prison
3. He wreaked havoc on the church, trying to destroy it
B. Saul Intended It for Evil but God Turned it to Good
1. Remember that God is in control
2. He has a plan and is working it out
(Rom 8:28) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
3. Christians should always keep a positive outlook
# A king in Africa had a close friend who had a habit of looking at every situation as being positive & saying, “This is good!”
One day the king and his friend went hunting & the friend loaded the guns for the king. But, this day he loaded one wrong & it blew up in the kings hand and took his thumb off. The friend remarked as usual, “This is good!” To which the king replied, "Not for you" and had him put into jail.
About a year later the king was captured by cannibals. They tied him to a stake and piled wood around the stake to make a fire for roasting. As they started to light the fire they noticed that the king's thumb was missing. Now, they would never eat anything that was less than whole, so they untied the king and let him go.
As the king was returning home, he remembered his friend in jail. So, he went to his cell and said “You were right, It was good that my thumb was blown off.” Then he proceeded to tell his friend what had happened, and apologized to him for putting him in jail. But the friend said, “Now, This is good! If I had not been in jail for mis-loading that gun, I would have been with you, and we both would have been eaten.”
C. Persecution Resulted in the Spread of the Gospel
1. The martyrdom of Stephen was the spark that ignited a
2. The persecution drove believers out of Jerusalem
3. Instead of the church being crushed the gospel was
II. THE CHURCH WAS SCATTERED vs. 4-8)
A. Philip Goes to Samaria
1. He was a deacon, chosen to help the widows
2. He was the first to preach Christ to the Samaritans
3. The Jews hated Samaritans because they had
intermarried w/foreigners and built a rival temple on
B. The Samaritans Received the Gospel
1. They listened to Philip's preaching & saw his miracles
(Joh 14:12) "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."
2. Unclean spirits were driven out, the sick were healed
& the lame walked
3. Many believed and were baptized
4. There was great joy in that city
5. God had a plan for the Samaritans
# Do you remember that the disciples were surprised when they found Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well?
They did not know that Samaritans were people God cared about. They thought that since Jews were God’s chosen people, the Samaritans were doomed for all eternity.
C. The Unlikeliest People Receive the Gospel
1. When Jesus walked the earth:
-The outcasts of society came to Him
-Sinners sat down to eat with Him & were saved
-Roman centurions & officials believed on Him
-Even wealthy & successful people followed Him
2. We should never write any one off as being beyond
the reach of God's grace
III. THE CASE OF SIMON THE SORCERER (vs. 9-25)
A. Peter and John Were Sent to Samaria
1. They laid hands on the Samaritans & they received
the Holy Spirit
2. They met Simon, a magician who had astonished the
people & claimed to be somebody great
3. Simon also had believed the Gospel, was baptized &
hung out with Philip
B. Simon Misunderstands the Power of God [vs. 18-19]
1. He thought he could buy the power of the Holy Spirit
2. Peter rebuke him & told him to repent & pray for God's